Gujaratis are blessed with an innate gift–wealth cre ation. And after
making a mark in areas like pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, Gujarat is now
focusing on IT and BPO sectors. Though there is room for improvement,
considerable progress has been made over the years. The state has undergone a
sea change and setting up an IT unit has become much easier.
The various IT parks and the changing attitudes of the government and the
state’s entrepreneurs have contributed greatly to the metamorphosis.
Says Sanjay Dhamsania of Ace Infotech, “If entrepreneurs take up
theÂ huge opportunity that Gujarat presents in the area of IT and BPO, the
state can do even better in the future.” Presently, the state has more than
20 BPO units, with enquiries pouring in for new units.
Adds Chirag Mehta, managing director, Icenet.net, the largest private ISP of
the state, “Somehow there is a very positive change in attitudes and
beliefs of entrepreneurs vis a vis IT. Earlier, investment in IT was seen as a
cost; today, it is viewed as an investment to improve revenues. The work
environment has also improved and there is scope for growth. In the last three
years, as many as 100 ERP solutions have been deployed around Gujarat. And take
our own case: We have just completed five years and during this period, we have
more than 145 corporate customers, 5000 broadband customers and 25,000 dialup
customers across the state.”
Today, Gujarat has successfully tackled the problems of availability of
infrastructure and qualified human resources. With various educational
institutes in the state that providing quality training in IT and related
fields, the human resource pool has steadily increased over the years. Besides,
the state has taken great strides in terms of development of entertainment
facilities, multiplexes (Ahmedabad is still the multiplex capital of the
country), shopping malls and the like. As a result, people from other centers
are more than willing to make cities like Ahmedabad and Vadodara their preferred
work place. “An added attraction of making Ahmedabad as a base for IT units
is the low cost of living, as compared to cities like Bangalore,” says
Vagmin Buch, joint secretary, science and technology department.
“The cost of living here is definitely lower,” says Kaushal Mehta,
managing director, Motif Inc, one of the biggest call centers operating from
Ahmedabad. “Availability of personnel is also not a problem. We currently
employ close to 400 people and expect to grow to over 1500 by 2005.”
Adds Arun Prasad, center manager, I Call India, “WeÂ have grown from
40 employees to 400 in a two-year period and so has our turn over. We have
shifted from voice to data and the transition has done us good.”
Of late, the government has also been quite proactive and has ensured that
several IT parks, such as GNFC Info Tower, the Infocity at Gandhinagar become
operational. Besides, STPI, which has approximately 15 parks all over India, has
set up a similar venture in Gujarat as well. The infrastructure and power
connectivity is equal to, and even better than, other parks in the country. It
is, thus, not surprising that several companies have already signed up with
Infocity and GNFC Infotower and will be commencing their activities shortly.
“There is an enormous employment potential in the IT sector of Gujarat and
in the coming years, we will see more and more youngsters queuing up for work
here,” says Nikhil Jain, managing director, EliteCore Technologies.
“The positive steps taken by the government in hosting events like
Vibrant Gujarat and CIT have also given a great deal of visibility to Guajrat,”
says Ruzan Khambatta, managing director, E Comm Solutions, one of the prominent
ISPs providing Internet on cable.
Besides, the state already has comprehensive IT infrastructure in the shape
of G-SWAN (Gujarat State Wide Area Network), which has given a fillip to
e-governance. “In fact, e-governance is one of the major achievements of
the state,” says Anil Mukim, commissioner, IT, and managing director,
Adds Sunil Parekh, former Senior Director, CII, Gujarat Chapter, “GSWAN
is Asia’s largest network of its kind, The state has diligently built the
infrastructure over five years, linking various districts of the state with the
capital Gandhinagar. Enquiries are steadily increasing for BPO units, not just
in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, but also in cities like Vadodara and Rajkot.”
The result of the combined efforts of the government and IT honchos of the state
is that it recorded an export of software totaling Rs 100 crore.
After all, it is not for nothing that NASSCOM has placed Ahmedabad high on
the list of preferred destinations for IT/BPO. Gujarat is number five today; it
could well be number one tomorrow.
IT thrust in the public service would essentially assume existence of a very
strong IT industry in the state. It is the endeavor of the government to help
create new job opportunities for the youth of the state in this sunrise
industry. It would only be possible when there is extensive use of computer for
the public services, in businesses and in homes. Location of strong IT industry
in the state would also give a fillip to export of IT related services and
IT Plan submitted by National Task Force has targeted one PC per 50 persons
by 2008. State government shall endeavor that this target is achieved by the
year 2005 AD.Â
‘IT software’ means any representation or instructions, data sound or
image including source code, object code recorded in a machine readable form and
capable of being manipulated or providing inter-connectivity to user by means of
automatic data processing machine falling under head ‘IT Products’.
‘IT software’ is defined as any service which results from the use of any
IT software over a system of IT products for realizing value addition.
‘IT products’ would include computer, digital-data communication and
digital-data broadcasting products as notified by the ministry of finance,
government of India or central board of excise and customs.
‘IT industry’ would include development of production and services
related to IT products, IT software and IT services.
It has been the international experiences that IT industry has developed in
the immediate rural hinterland of the cities.